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3.5: Describing How the Author Limits the Claim

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    Audio Version (January 2022):


    An old white picket fence around a back yard.
    Photo by PublicDomainArchive on Pixabay under the Pixabay License.


    In the course of describing the author’s claims, reasons, and counterarguments, chances are we will already have mentioned some limits or clarified which kinds of cases an author is referring to. It is worth checking, however, to make sure we haven’t left out any key limitations the author has identified.

    Phrases to Describe the Way a Writer Limits an Argument

    • He qualifies his position by_____________.
    • She limits her claim by_____________.
    • They clarify that this only holds if _____________.
    • The author restricts their claim to cases where_____________.
    • He makes an exception for_____________.

    In the case of the border argument, the writer responds to the counterargument about security by clarifying that she does not advocate completely open borders. The sample summary already refers to this when it describes her desire to “regulate” those borders. In addition, when it paraphrases her claims and reasons, it uses the phrases “desperate” and “in a desperate position” to limit the focus to migrants who are fleeing an awful situation.

    Practice Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Below are some sample claims that mention limits. Choose one of the phrases above or create another one with a similar purpose to help you summarize each claim and limit. 

    1. Students should embrace coffee to enhance mental functioning unless they are in the minority of people who experience severe side effects of coffee like anxiety, insomnia, tremors, acid reflux, or a compulsion to drink more and more.

    2. Students shouldn’t hesitate to enjoy coffee as long as they keep exercising and sleeping well enough to maintain their mental and physical health.

    3. In moderation, coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

    3.5: Describing How the Author Limits the Claim is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Anna Mills.